The opportunity to get advice from working professionals about their career paths and experiences is invaluable.
In a normal year, the Middlebury Institute’s annual DC Career Week would take dozens of students to Washington, D.C., over spring break for a series of in-person meetings with alumni and friends of the Institute who work in government, nonprofit, and for-profit agencies and organizations. This year, Institute staff transformed DC Career Week into a virtual event that once again provided personal connections to potential future employers.
“I think the most valuable aspect for me was having the chance to ask questions and make professional connections in a rather small setting where I really had the room to get to know the presenters and the organizations on a personal basis,” said International Policy and Development student Alicia Clark ’22.
Student Keily Ramirez MAIPD ’21 agreed. “I think we tend to forget how these presenters learned from their successes and mistakes along the way to where they are today. I found each of their stories inspiring and a reminder to make sure to balance your work with your personal values.”
Starting Your Job Application
Ramirez also appreciated that the panelists encouraged her and others to reach out to them for more in-depth conversations. “Establishing this network and finding out what works best makes the process comfortable and encourages me to start applying to the positions,” noted Ramirez.
One featured guest was alumnus Sam Worthington MAIPS ’84, CEO of InterAction, an organization that convenes and represents about 190 international development and humanitarian organizations. Worthington talked with the students about the future of aid under the Biden administration, suggesting that its priorities are global health; climate change; and democracy, governance, and human rights, in that order. He believes that “MIIS graduates who can demonstrate adaptability and generalist program management, analysis, and design skills, along with language skills, will continue to be in demand.”
Benefits of Virtual Career Events
The virtual nature offered some unexpected advantages. “Normally, the schedule for DC Career Week is planned months in advance,” noted Career Advisor Scott Webb MPA ’07, part of the planning team, “with great care taken to make the events logistically possible while transporting students from Arlington to Bethesda and back to downtown Washington by Metro, taxi, or rideshare.” This year, with all of the meetings being held online, there was no need to build transportation time into the schedule, giving students more time to prepare for and interact with employers.
Participants included students from our International Policy and Development, MPA, International Environmental Policy, International Trade and Economic Diplomacy, Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, and Translation and Localization Management master’s programs.
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